Communication on the road!



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Shotokan War

Guest
Hello there,

I am a product design student and have been given a brief to design a 'short range communication
product'. We are to try and identify situations with specific groups of users where it might be
advantageous to have a bespoke product to help relay particular pieces of information between
interested parties. This may be to augment simply talking to each other, or may be in situations
where it is not possible to talk to each other. For example, SCUBA divers have a series of hand
signals that they use to communicate specific pieces of information "are you ok?", "I am running
low on air" etc. Even in this situation, it may be advantageous to have something additional to
help get the other person's attention in the first place (given that they will not always be
looking at one another).

I thought that cyclists might be a good group of people who could benefit from a new type of
communication device. If you could take a few moments to jot down your thoughts in repsonse to some
of the questions below, or add any other thoughts you have, it may help my project get off to a
flying start. Thanks in advance.

I realise that there are radio systems for people to talk to one another, but could there be other
forms of comms that might be helpful?

Are there situations where pressing a button on a device you hold, can let someone know a specific
piece of info without talking to them (or perhaps broadcasting to others??).

Would it be useful to be able to add information to that which is spoken by the use of visual cues
(lights for example) or other cues (heat, vibration etc.).

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to gesticulate wildly?

What annoys you about current forms of comunication systems?
 

jhuskey

Moderator
Oct 6, 2003
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Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to gesticulate wildly?

What annoys you about current forms of comunication systems? [/B][/QUOTE]

Are you kidding? What cyclist hasn't used the old one finger salute.
I wll let others elaborate on the questions but will make a comment on two problem that I see might hinder your query.
Most cyclist do not want to add any devices that will add weight to thier bike. Consumers pay sometimes thousands of dollars for a bike just a few pounds lighter that a much cheaper bike.

The second problem is that cyclist have more communication problems with individuals driving motorized vehicles. There are already standard singals for various situations while on the road in traffic. Additional coding of communication would probably only add to an already confused situation since a lot of drivers don't recognize the rights of cyclist anyway.If you could isolate cycling from the rest of society then I could see a possible advantage, but in an integrated situation I can only forsee disaster.
I am not saying that there is not an answer. Maybe I am just not smart enough to visualize it. :confused:
 
D

David Kerber

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> Hello there,
>
> I am a product design student and have been given a brief to design a 'short range communication
> product'. We are to try and identify situations with specific groups of users where it might be
> advantageous to have a bespoke product to help relay particular pieces of information between
> interested parties. This may be to augment simply talking to each other, or may be in situations
> where it is not possible to talk to each other. For example, SCUBA divers have a series of hand
> signals that they use to communicate specific pieces of information "are you ok?", "I am running
> low on air" etc. Even in this situation, it may be advantageous to have something additional to
> help get the other person's attention in the first place (given that they will not always be
> looking at one another).
>
> I thought that cyclists might be a good group of people who could benefit from a new type of
> communication device. If you could take a few moments to jot down your thoughts in repsonse to
> some of the questions below, or add any other thoughts you have, it may help my project get off to
> a flying start. Thanks in advance.
>
> I realise that there are radio systems for people to talk to one another, but could there be other
> forms of comms that might be helpful?

My personal preference would be for a multi-channel, voice-activated radio with a wind-resistant mic
(so the wind doesn't activate it), with an adjustable output power so you can control how far your
signal will carry and how long the battery would last. That way, a small group of riders could dial
down their power to just the level needed to cover 50 feet for talking within the paceline, and if
they need to talk to another group a mile or two ahead or behind, could raise the power back up
temporarily. This would help minimize mutual interference and maximize battery life.

> Are there situations where pressing a button on a device you hold, can let someone know a specific
> piece of info without talking to them (or perhaps broadcasting to others??).

Holding is kind of tough on a bike, and mounting a button on the bars will only work if you don't
move your hands around to different positions.

> Would it be useful to be able to add information to that which is spoken by the use of visual cues
> (lights for example) or other cues (heat, vibration etc.).
>
> Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to gesticulate wildly?
>
> What annoys you about current forms of comunication systems?

Too many of them either require you to use your hands, or in some cases expect your hands to be
always in the same place.

--
Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
 
C

Collin O'Neill

Guest
Just a note:

I had an aquaintance who was a Marine Recon (actualy I think he is again now that there's a war on).
He said the handiest radios they used had a manual talk switch they activated by tapping it with
their elbows, so they could hold their weapons.

That's the problem with biking - your hands are already occupied. I also have had experience with
techincal rescue. When you're tying knots on the side of a cliff with insulated gloves, you simply
don't have a hand to reach up and respond. We never solved that problem except for one guy who was
trying to find some good chin-operated talk buttons.

But personally I would find the extra weight and wires annoying. Hand signals work pretty well in a
group, and you usually plan your route before clicking into your pedals anyway.

Collin

"David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> > Hello there,
> >
> > I am a product design student and have been given a brief to design a 'short range communication
> > product'. We are to try and identify situations with specific groups of users where it might be
> > advantageous to have a bespoke product to help relay particular pieces of information between
> > interested parties. This may be to augment simply talking to each other, or may be in situations
> > where it is not possible to talk to each other. For example, SCUBA divers have a series of hand
> > signals that they use to communicate specific pieces of information "are you ok?", "I am running
> > low on air" etc. Even in this situation, it may be advantageous to have something additional to
> > help get the other person's attention in the first place (given that they will not always be
> > looking at one another).
> >
> > I thought that cyclists might be a good group of people who could benefit from a new type of
> > communication device. If you could take a few moments to jot down your thoughts in repsonse to
> > some of the questions below, or add any other thoughts you have, it may help my project get off
> > to a flying start. Thanks in advance.
> >
> > I realise that there are radio systems for people to talk to one another, but could there be
> > other forms of comms that might be helpful?
>
> My personal preference would be for a multi-channel, voice-activated radio with a wind-resistant
> mic (so the wind doesn't activate it), with an adjustable output power so you can control how far
> your signal will carry and how long the battery would last. That way, a small group of riders
> could dial down their power to just the level needed to cover 50 feet for talking within the
> paceline, and if they need to talk to another group a mile or two ahead or behind, could raise the
> power back up temporarily. This would help minimize mutual interference and maximize battery life.
>
>
> > Are there situations where pressing a button on a device you hold, can let someone know a
> > specific piece of info without talking to them (or perhaps broadcasting to others??).
>
> Holding is kind of tough on a bike, and mounting a button on the bars will only work if you don't
> move your hands around to different positions.
>
>
> > Would it be useful to be able to add information to that which is spoken by the use of visual
> > cues (lights for example) or other cues (heat, vibration etc.).
> >
> > Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to gesticulate wildly?
> >
> > What annoys you about current forms of comunication systems?
>
> Too many of them either require you to use your hands, or in some cases expect your hands to be
> always in the same place.
>
> --
> Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!
>
> REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
 
D

David Kerber

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
> Just a note:
>
> I had an aquaintance who was a Marine Recon (actualy I think he is again now that there's a war
> on). He said the handiest radios they used had a manual talk switch they activated by tapping it
> with their elbows, so they could hold their weapons.
>
> That's the problem with biking - your hands are already occupied. I also have had experience with
> techincal rescue. When you're tying knots on the side of a cliff with insulated gloves, you simply
> don't have a hand to reach up and respond. We never solved that problem except for one guy who was
> trying to find some good chin-operated talk buttons.
>
> But personally I would find the extra weight and wires annoying. Hand signals work pretty well in
> a group, and you usually plan your route before clicking into your pedals anyway.

My thought while writing this was that a low power voice-operated radio wouldn't need any wires;
the entire unit could be in the head- mounted piece. Having the low power mode could keep the
battery requirements low enough to make that practical. I don't have much experience with hands-
free microphones or headsets, so I don't know what kind of head mounting unit would work best, but
my daughter's headphones which sit on the back of the head would allow them to be below the edge
of a helmet.

Another option might be to have a single wire which runs down your back to a unit which hangs on
your waistband or hides in your jersey pocket. I'm not a big fan of wires either, though.

....

--
Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
 
D

David Kerber

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

...

> But personally I would find the extra weight and wires annoying. Hand signals work pretty well in
> a group, and you usually plan your route before clicking into your pedals anyway.

The hand signals, etc, would probably work fine with people who are used to riding together, or who
are experienced in group riding. Relative newcomers who aren't used to it might benefit from some
short verbal comments.

....

--
Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
 
C

Curtis L . Russ

Guest
On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 11:23:20 -0500, David Kerber
<[email protected]_ids.net> wrote:

>My thought while writing this was that a low power voice-operated radio wouldn't need any wires;
>the entire unit could be in the head- mounted piece.

I've listened to my share of voice activated mikes (mostly tank related). It takes some use to get
used to. Guessing unless the people in the group used them all the time, a bunch of what is said
would be unintelligible - and the heavy breathers on climbs would run down their batteries...

Curtis L. Russell Odenton, MD (USA) Just someone on two wheels...
 
V

Van Bagnol

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> Hello there,
>
> I am a product design student and have been given a brief to design a 'short range communication
> product'. We are to try and identify situations with specific groups of users where it might be
> advantageous to have a bespoke product to help relay particular pieces of information between
> interested parties.
[..]
> I thought that cyclists might be a good group of people who could benefit from a new type of
> communication device. If you could take a few moments to jot down your thoughts in repsonse to
> some of the questions below, or add any other thoughts you have, it may help my project get off to
> a flying start. Thanks in advance.

There are already a number of head-mounted intercom devices for motorcycle riders to talk to their
passengers. There are also a number of FRS radios systems with headset and VOX capability.

I've found that a plain Motorola Talkabout hung around the neck has worked fine. I've used it on
parking lot patrol and security at church functions, bike rides with large groups of kids, and lone
mountain bike rides while keeping in touch with the base camp.

The neck strap is also handy if you want to hand a radio over to the someone riding among the
slowest riders in the group. If I didn't like the dangling, I could always put it in a pouch which
attaches to one of the shoulder straps of my Camelbak.

I've tended _not_ to use VOX activation, as heavy breathing and all that tends to trigger it too
easily. I've had no problem taking a free hand to push the XMIT button, although I haven't had an
instance where I'd want to talk to someone as I'm on a switchback-laden rocky descent on
singletrack, other than yelling "Yee-ha!" -- in which case some type of handlebar-mounted activator
would only be _marginally_ useful.

> I realise that there are radio systems for people to talk to one another, but could there be other
> forms of comms that might be helpful?

A bell on the handlebars.

> Are there situations where pressing a button on a device you hold, can let someone know a specific
> piece of info without talking to them (or perhaps broadcasting to others??).

A LOUD bell on the handlebars.

You know, they _do_ sell air horns for bikes, too.

> Would it be useful to be able to add information to that which is spoken by the use of visual cues
> (lights for example) or other cues (heat, vibration etc.).

The problem with illumination-assisted communication with current bike products is (A) the switching
mechanisms are not meant for rapid communication (i.e., buttons are mounted on the taillight,
headlamp, or handlebar require sustained press to activate), (B) lamps are not always aimed at the
recipients (helmet-mounted lights can be directed, but see
(c)), and (C) the recipients are busy looking at the terrain and can't always see light signals.
(The guy at the front can't see the guy signaling at the back, and the guy at the back staring
at the fallen log in front of him can't see the guy in the front a quarter-mile away around
the hill.)

> Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to gesticulate wildly?

Definitely. Oh wait, do you mean with the other fingers?

> What annoys you about current forms of comunication systems?

Size, range, and headset comfort. Some headphone+mikes don't fit well under helmets, and the mike
boom gets tangled in the straps. A handle-bar or glove-mounted activator button would be nice for
those who want to brake and talk at the same time.

Handlebar-mounted PDA systems are also available, which can optionally show GPS location or record
turns (to trace a route), but the drawbacks are cost and screen readability, and lack of data
interfaces to _everything_ I want: heart rate, GPS location, bicycle speed and odometer, incline,
and gearing, and a way to upload the information for analysis. It would be cool for it to show on my
GPS nav map the locations of other riders in the group or race, but that's a little Buck Rogers for
most mountain bike rides.

Van

--
Van Bagnol / v a n at wco dot com / c r l at bagnol dot com ...enjoys - Theatre / Windsurfing /
Skydiving / Mountain Biking ...feels - "Parang lumalakad ako sa loob ng paniginip" ...thinks - "An
Error is Not a Mistake ... Unless You Refuse to Correct It"
 
A

Ali

Guest
Van Bagnol <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] wrote:
>
> > Hello there,
> >
> > I am a product design student and have been given a brief to design a 'short range communication
> > product'.
Im a product designer too and I'm doing that same project 'wow'. We are to try and identify
> > situations with specific groups of users where it might be advantageous to have a bespoke
> > product to help relay particular pieces of information between interested parties.
> [..]
> > I thought that cyclists might be a good group of people who could benefit from a new type of
> > communication device. If you could take a few moments to jot down your thoughts in repsonse to
> > some of the questions below, or add any other thoughts you have, it may help my project get off
> > to a flying start. Thanks in advance.
>
> There are already a number of head-mounted intercom devices for motorcycle riders to talk to their
> passengers. There are also a number of FRS radios systems with headset and VOX capability.
>
> I've found that a plain Motorola Talkabout hung around the neck has worked fine. I've used it on
> parking lot patrol and security at church functions, bike rides with large groups of kids, and
> lone mountain bike rides while keeping in touch with the base camp.
>
> The neck strap is also handy if you want to hand a radio over to the someone riding among the
> slowest riders in the group. If I didn't like the dangling, I could always put it in a pouch which
> attaches to one of the shoulder straps of my Camelbak.
>
> I've tended _not_ to use VOX activation, as heavy breathing and all that tends to trigger it too
> easily. I've had no problem taking a free hand to push the XMIT button, although I haven't had an
> instance where I'd want to talk to someone as I'm on a switchback-laden rocky descent on
> singletrack, other than yelling "Yee-ha!" -- in which case some type of handlebar-mounted
> activator would only be _marginally_ useful.
>
> > I realise that there are radio systems for people to talk to one another, but could there be
> > other forms of comms that might be helpful?
>
> A bell on the handlebars.
>
> > Are there situations where pressing a button on a device you hold, can let someone know a
> > specific piece of info without talking to them (or perhaps broadcasting to others??).
>
> A LOUD bell on the handlebars.
>
> You know, they _do_ sell air horns for bikes, too.
>
> > Would it be useful to be able to add information to that which is spoken by the use of visual
> > cues (lights for example) or other cues (heat, vibration etc.).
>
> The problem with illumination-assisted communication with current bike products is (A) the
> switching mechanisms are not meant for rapid communication (i.e., buttons are mounted on the
> taillight, headlamp, or handlebar require sustained press to activate), (B) lamps are not always
> aimed at the recipients (helmet-mounted lights can be directed, but see
> (c)), and (C) the recipients are busy looking at the terrain and can't always see light signals.
> (The guy at the front can't see the guy signaling at the back, and the guy at the back staring
> at the fallen log in front of him can't see the guy in the front a quarter-mile away around the
> hill.)
>
> > Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to gesticulate wildly?
>
> Definitely. Oh wait, do you mean with the other fingers?
>
> > What annoys you about current forms of comunication systems?
>
> Size, range, and headset comfort. Some headphone+mikes don't fit well under helmets, and the mike
> boom gets tangled in the straps. A handle-bar or glove-mounted activator button would be nice for
> those who want to brake and talk at the same time.
>
> Handlebar-mounted PDA systems are also available, which can optionally show GPS location or record
> turns (to trace a route), but the drawbacks are cost and screen readability, and lack of data
> interfaces to _everything_ I want: heart rate, GPS location, bicycle speed and odometer, incline,
> and gearing, and a way to upload the information for analysis. It would be cool for it to show on
> my GPS nav map the locations of other riders in the group or race, but that's a little Buck Rogers
> for most mountain bike rides.
>
> Van
 
K

Karen M.

Guest
[email protected] wrote :

> I am a product design student and have been given a brief to design a 'short range communication
> product'. ... For example, SCUBA divers have a series of hand signals that they use to communicate
> specific pieces of information "are you ok?", "I am running low on air" etc. Even in this
> situation, it may be advantageous to have something additional to help get the other person's
> attention in the first place (given that they will not always be looking at one another)...

> Would it be useful to be able to add information to that which is spoken by the use of visual cues
> (lights for example) or other cues (heat, vibration etc.).

Most of us who ride in groups already have our own methods of communication. Paceline rides
towards a small obstruction, e.g. a hole. Leader points with right hand, says "hole." Following
cyclists echo "hole," some pointing. (Usually the same word is used for any hazard, be it organic
or not.) Same thing for "glass," which requires a bit more vigilance since shards would be spread
out. Also, the last rider in a group tends to be the one who calls out "car back." Less often
needed is "car up." At unsignalized intersections there's sometimes a concern with stopping and
going when it's clear, and many (misguided) riders tend to say "clear" when it likely might not
be for someone a few seconds behind. On certain large rides the organizers request that you
signal a sag driver with a distinctive gesture. Seems like patting yourself on the head is one (I
don't recall if that means, "please stop," or "I'm OK keep going"). Other rides use thumbs-up or
thumbs-down. IMHO, a device that makes noise or light or sound to relay a signal to others would
be a waste of available mounting space, weight, batteries, and money. --Karen M.
 
F

Ferenc Lovro

Guest
[email protected] (Karen M.) wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> [email protected] wrote :
>
> Most of us who ride in groups already have our own methods of communication. Paceline rides
> towards a small obstruction, e.g. a hole. Leader points with right hand, says "hole." Following
> cyclists echo "hole," some pointing. (Usually the same word is used for any hazard, be it
> organic or not.) Same thing for "glass," which requires a bit more vigilance since shards would
> be spread out. Also, the last rider in a group tends to be the one who calls out "car back."
> Less often needed is "car up." At unsignalized intersections there's sometimes a concern with
> stopping and going when it's clear, and many (misguided) riders tend to say "clear" when it
> likely might not be for someone a few seconds behind.

> IMHO, a device that makes noise or light or sound to relay a signal to others would be a waste
> of available mounting space, weight, batteries, and money.

you're perfectly right. i would just add here a couple more signs we use over here
(hungary, europe):

- pointing down the ground on the left or right -> hole on the left or right
- waving behind the back horizontally from outside towards the backbone -> something ahead we need
to pass (eg a slow cyclist, a parking car), pull up behind the group leader
- last rider shouting "car" -> as you said, car from behind
- rider pointing high above his head -> beware, have to slow down or stop very quickly (eg. someone
fell in front, have to stop at a railroad crossing, etc). this is especially useful when riding in
a group of 30 or more, when the ones behind can't hear the ones shouting "beware" or "stop" in the
front of the group.
- waving with left or right hand horizontally beside your body from back to front -> please pass me
(from left or right)
- pointing to the right (or left) between two riders of the group -> please let me in front of you

frank www.plitkorn.com
 
P

Per Elmsäter

Guest
Ferenc Lovro wrote:
> you're perfectly right. i would just add here a couple more signs we use over here (hungary,
> europe):
>
> - pointing down the ground on the left or right -> hole on the left or right
> - waving behind the back horizontally from outside towards the backbone -> something ahead we need
> to pass (eg a slow cyclist, a parking car), pull up behind the group leader

This wave behind the back is also often done as a slap on the buttocks. If I slap my right buttock
it means that the paceline is weering left and vice vresa. The more distinct the slap the sharper
the change of direction. Mostly used for parked cars, slow cyclists or pedestrians ahead.

> - last rider shouting "car" -> as you said, car from behind
> - rider pointing high above his head -> beware, have to slow down or stop very quickly (eg.
> someone fell in front, have to stop at a railroad crossing, etc). this is especially useful when
> riding in a group of 30 or more, when the ones behind can't hear the ones shouting "beware" or
> "stop" in the front of the group.
> - waving with left or right hand horizontally beside your body from back to front -> please pass
> me (from left or right)
> - pointing to the right (or left) between two riders of the group -> please let me in front of you
>
> frank www.plitkorn.com

--
Perre

You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
 
C

Claire Petersky

Guest
"Ferenc Lovro" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...

> you're perfectly right. i would just add here a couple more signs we use over here (hungary,
> europe):

How about the one where you put your hand at about waist level behind your back, palm up, fingers
curled, to indicate road kill?

--
Warm Regards,

Claire Petersky
Please replace earthlink for mouse-potato and .net for .com

Home of the meditative cyclist:
http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm

New CD coming out this month! See: http://www.tiferet.net

"To forgive is to set the prisoner free and then discover the prisoner
was you."
 
P

Per Elmsäter

Guest
Claire Petersky wrote:
> "Ferenc Lovro" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
>
>> you're perfectly right. i would just add here a couple more signs we use over here (hungary,
>> europe):
>
> How about the one where you put your hand at about waist level behind your back, palm up, fingers
> curled, to indicate road kill?

I guess we don't have any roadkill, 'cause I've never seen that one ;) Does the sign indicate
whether it's eatable or not?

--
Perre

You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
 
R

Rick Onanian

Guest
On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 22:53:47 GMT, "Per Elmsäter"
<[email protected]> wrote:
>I guess we don't have any roadkill, 'cause I've never seen that one ;) Does the sign indicate
>whether it's eatable or not?

Your group packs a grill for the ride? I gotta ride with you.
--
Rick Onanian
 
P

Per ElmsäTer

Guest
Rick Onanian wrote:
> On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 22:53:47 GMT, "Per Elmsäter" <[email protected]> wrote:
>> I guess we don't have any roadkill, 'cause I've never seen that one ;) Does the sign indicate
>> whether it's eatable or not?
>
> Your group packs a grill for the ride? I gotta ride with you.

No, just a fridge.
--
Perre

You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
 
C

Chris Zacho "Th

Guest
Obviously this guy has never watched Le Tour. ALL the racers have these things in their helmets now!

"May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills!"

Chris Zacho ~ "Your Friendly Neighborhood Wheelman"

Chris'Z Corner http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
 
S

S O R N I

Guest
Chris Zacho "The Wheelman" wrote:
> Obviously this guy has never watched Le Tour. ALL the racers have these things in their
> helmets now!

All WHAT things?!?

Bill "dude, you gotta learn to quote" S.
 
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